There are a lot of misunderstandings out there relating to growing older. Many people think aging means becoming idle, becoming frail, and losing mental sharpness. However, growing older doesn’t mean you need to just fade away. Here’s how to ensure your senior years are the best you ever had.
Many of the changes we commonly associate with aging can be prevented with one simple lifestyle change: exercise. As Verywell Fit explains, exercising helps seniors maintain their strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance, and in fact, a routine fitness regimen can essentially stop the clock in that regard. With that in mind, think about joining a fitness center. Through Medicare supplemental insurance plans, many seniors gain access to gym memberships for free.
Another idea is to put together a home gym, which allows you to work out whenever you feel like it without having to get out. Think about gathering a few pieces of simple equipment in an extra room or a corner of your house you don’t use often. For instance, some resistance bands, an exercise bike, and a stability ball can go a long way toward keeping you in shape.
Even a simple act like going for a walk will help tremendously. It is easy, it is free, and it comes with a chockablock of benefits such as improved circulation, lightened moods, slower mental decline, improved sleep and strengthened bones and muscles. Walking with a buddy helps keep you and your friend accountable to one another, thereby reducing the chances of skipping on your daily exercise.
Bottom-line: Find a physical activity that motivates you. You are more likely to stay active if you do something that you truly love and enjoy. Check out your Senior Center for several activities like dancing, yoga, Tai Chi as well. If you love gardening, your local Master Gardener’s association is a great choice.
There are many reasons people experience a decline in their senior years. Perhaps you have a chronic condition that makes certain activities challenging, your back isn’t what it used to be, or your eyesight is fading. Sometimes a little bit of extra support is what you need to remain on the go and enjoying life. If some days it’s hard to tend your needs, consider searching for a local assisted living community in that fits your needs.
If you’re thinking an assisted living situation isn’t your cup of tea, reconsider. Assisted living is a chance to live an independent lifestyle, yet have that little extra bit of help you need each day with daily tasks, like dressing, bathing, and doing laundry. On top of that, most communities offer things like daily hot meals, easy access to public transportation, and opportunities to spend time with nature. And the icing on the cake – you can stay socially engaged. If you decide this is the right choice for you, make a point to tour multiple facilities so you can get an idea of which one will best suit your needs. And be sure to budget accordingly: senior communities in Oklahoma City range anywhere from $1,650 to $7,200.
No matter how old you are, friendships are important to your well-being. In fact, one of the dangers that many people face as they grow older is isolation. While at first glance that might not seem like a health risk, National Institute on Aging explains loneliness in seniors is associated with several health concerns. It appears to be linked to issues like heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and cognitive decline.
Finding ways to stay connected is easier than ever. Consider volunteering for a cause you feel strongly about or take a class to learn something new. Get lunch with a friend on Wednesdays, join a meetup, or pick up a new hobby. It’s a chance to make new friends who share your interests. This buddy system also helps you to watch out for one another.
Cognitive decline might seem to strike randomly in seniors, but there are some things you can do to help keep your mind sharp. For instance, Today’s Geriatric Medicine explains doing something creative can help your cognitive function. It can also lift your mood, lower your stress levels, and reduce your risk for depression. With that in mind, consider doing some painting, woodworking, drawing, or sculpting to give your brain a boost.
If being creative isn’t your thing, consider picking up a good book. It turns out reading could be another tool for sharpening aging minds. Reading appears to enhance seniors’ memory function, encourages better decision making, improves sleep, lowers stress, and might even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Perhaps you can try your hand at puzzles (crossword or jigsaw) or Sudoku?
Sometimes challenges come hand-in-hand with aging, but there are things you can do to help yourself thrive. Maintain a fitness program, get help if you need it, keep up a social life, and do some brain-boosting activities. With these simple strategies, your senior years could be the best yet!
If you loved this blog, check out the simple yet practical tips on Self Care by Brad Krause. And if you are a care-giver for a senior parent or friend, be sure to read Dr. Ron’s article on one of the most neglected aspects of senior aging. Healthy Aging 101 gives you several other tips on how to be younger longer. Meera Shashidhara had the good fortune to interview several centenarians and we, at Healthy Indian, have provided you with a review of her book ‘Living To Be A Hundred’ in this blog.
Author Bio: Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall well-being. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.